Ten practitioners from print and broadcast media formalized their membership to the Philippine Press Club Ontario (PPCO) by taking their oaths during the organization’s triple-event celebration: 13th anniversary, induction of new members, and Christmas party held recently at Qssis Banquet Hall in Toronto.
Seven other members who were unable to attend will be formally inducted into the organization during its next major event, according to PPCO President Rose Tijam. This batch, a total of 17 members, is the largest group approved for induction to the PPCO, according to Romy Zetazate, chairman of the PPCO Membership Committee. The 17 members joined the organization during the terms of the previous PPCO President Hermie Garcia, and Tijam.
Marivel Taruc, CBC senior reporter and host of “Our Toronto,” officiated the oath-taking ceremonies for the new members: Jeff Rustia, Rachelle Cruz, Veronica Silva, Michelle Ramos, Ramon Lansangan, Anjo Pallasigui, Bong Molano, and Gian Carlo Bobilla, Sheila Calica and Jaime Padiernos. (The seven other members who were unable to attend the induction ceremonies were: Rhea Gamana, Yshmael Cabana, Macelle Delgado, Beatrice Paez, Judith Gonzales, Sheng Maligsay, and Amelia Insigne.)
Taruc also officiated the formal Oath of Affirmation of nine of the 10 PPCO board members present: Rose Tijam, president; Rodel Ramos, secretary; Noel Perada, treasurer; Mila Astorga-Garcia, public information officer; and board members Melinda Rustia, Jojo Taduran; Romy Zetazate; Ariel Ramos; and Joe Damasco. (Vice President Jonathan Canchela is on leave and will be back Dec. 23.)
Taruc, a prominent CBC journalist for two decades, and an honorary member of the PPCO who was recently recognized and awarded for Outstanding Journalism by the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC), delivered the event’s keynote address. She emphasized among other things, that journalism is a profession that carries a great responsibility. “It is a profession with a constant effort to always be accurate, to always be objective, and to always be fair,” she says.
The event also featured guest speakers Finance Minister Joe Oliver, Senator Tobias Enverga, and Consul General Junever Mahilum-West. Just like Taruc, Oliver and Enverga mentioned the role journalists play involving risks they take in performing their jobs, sometimes involving the ultimate sacrifice, such as what happened to some of the victims of the infamous Maguindanao Massacre, where 32 of the 57 victims killed were journalists.
Mahilum-West emphasized how community journalists help inform and bring to their attention news that is useful. She says the consulate general would not have easily known the state and level of maturity and readiness of Filipino participation in the recent political elections, among others, were it not for the community media reporting on their numbers and the names of the Filipino-Canadian candidates. “We would not have known this by ourselves,” she said.
Pastor Teck Uy, Pastor , Friends of Jesus Christ Church and president of the Filipino Ministerial Fellowship Ontario, delivered the invocation. He invoked the protection of journalists from harm in a risky profession that aimed to seek the truth. He also called for prayers for the Maguindanao Massacre victims, majority of whom were journalists.
The well-attended event attracted a lot of old members of the PPCO, who noted how the organization, energized by its emphasis on journalism-related activities such as the speakers series involving featuring successful mainstream Filipino-Canadian journalists, had generated interest especially from among younger media practitioners. The event was also attended by a representative of the ethnic press, officers and members of community organizations, and businesses.